Jeffrey M. Rosenblum, P.C.
A Fresh Start

Medical expenses can result in overwhelming debt

Many people on Long Island, New York believe in the old adage that says health is wealth. However, rising medical costs can be a serious issue that can land a person in a pile of debt. In a report by the National Patient Advocate Foundation in the United States nearly two-thirds of bankruptcy filings are a result of medical debt.

Studies found that, while more than 50 percent of patients want to speak with their physicians about the cost of treatment, only 19 percent have the conversation. Because costs of treatment and diagnostic tests are not communicated, many patients end up paying avoidable healthcare expenses. Patients have the right to ask for, and doctors can provide, alternative options, which do not dig into the patient's pocket.

Many Americans believe that the cost of care is correlated to quality, which may be correct; however, sometimes that is not the case. Serious medical conditions often require specialized physicians and various treatments, which can be expensive; hence, people end up with overwhelming debt to cover medical bills. Recovering from an illness or disease can be stressful while struggling with debt.

Personal health and the health of a loved one are important. However, everyone must remember that financial wellness is important too. Having a fresh financial start from debts can be daunting. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be an ideal solution. Asset liquidation can provide a person with a chance to clear debts in an organized manner. However, filing for this option requires eligibility and it may be best to consult a bankruptcy professional first to assess which option is the best one to choose.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "High Out-of-Pocket Costs Called a Hidden 'Side Effect' of Treatment," Dennis Thompson, Oct. 16, 2013

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